I’d stopped book blogging on Monday to focus on health issues but then I came across a twitter/facebook discussion questioning the value of book bloggers and online book tours. Which reminded me that I’d posted on facebook recently that this was a topic that I wanted to cover.
I’ve taken part in one and two week long online book tours and enjoyed the experience, but didn’t take part in more because I preferred to do my own thing.
When the tours went to one month long or more I did wonder if they would create a sense of overkill, but they didn’t, instead they’ve done something fascinating.
I’ve been observing my own responses to those extended tours for some time and here’s what I found:
- When there are numerous bloggers posting about the same book I may read the first couple of posts, or watch the vlogs I spot and retweet them if I like them, or if I think other readers in my timeline might appreciate them.
- After a while I note the posts that follow but I’m unlikely to retweet, however this does not mean the blogger has wasted their time for two reasons. Firstly because I’ve noted that post much in the way I’ve registered advertising on TV. Secondly because the post may be picked up by someone else on their timeline who may have missed other posts on the same topic.
- Here’s why the combination of points 1 and 2 have value. When I’m online every book that has been mentioned by a book blogger/vlogger that I’ve been attracted to, either in an individual post or especially as part of a tour automatically catches my eye. When I walk into a bookshop my eye is automatically looking for them again, whether or not I intend to buy them. At the moment I’m constantly on the look out for Louise Beech’s The Lion Tamer Who Lost in every bookshop I go in because that Orenda book tour and online campaign has been so effective.
- In the world of retail this is known as brand recognition.
- The mistake is when you expect sales to immediately uplift during a book tour or as a result of an individual post. Sometimes there will be a lift and sometimes there won’t. Plus, not every interaction or influence can be measured by data linked to a blog tour.
- Some people will buy the book immediately, while others may not, possibly due to other pressures on their finances. However, because the memory of these books is embedded these readers may go looking for the book in their libraries, or they may wait for the book to be on an offer in their favourite bookstore or online and buy it then. They may buy it secondhand, in which case the author has benefited financially from the original purchaser and still might benefit from the secondhand purchaser if they are online, or even in the future should their financial situation change.
- Once the reader has borrowed or bought the book they may post online that they have done so, increasing brand recognition again, and when they’ve read it they might add their opinion to various social media and book review sites, yet again influencing brand recognition.
- Every single post online by anyone: reader, book blogger, author, publisher or publicist increases brand recognition. Even something as simple as an image of a book cover with a comment can reach thousands of people and start the embedding of a brand. For example, I recently posted what I thought of Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce. I’ve not been the most prolific book blogger this year due to health issues but this tweet was still viewed 7,147 times due to being picked up and shared (thanks to everyone who did that).
- The win for anyone who wants to sell books is to cultivate brand recognition and to recognise that every single person who posts positively about the book adds to that, because it tends to ripple outwards. Book bloggers and well organised book tours are an effective way to start doing this, plus they help to develop loyalty to that brand and the brand becomes associated with great reads.
- Here’s another reason the success of a blog post/vlog or online book tour can’t be measured in obvious ways. When I’ve been standing in a bookshop with friends (or even complete strangers who’ve struck up a conversation) all that brand recognition rolls through my head: every blog post, every image, every book that a publicist has been excited about, plus author opinions and vlogs. My memory (when the health issue is behaving) automatically sifts through it all flagging up likely possibilities and dismissing others so I can make a recommendation, confident that they will like it and buy it and they generally do (massive buzz).
Developing brand recognition is something that passionate readers have inadvertently done for hundreds of years, long before social media arrived, via word of mouth and letters. What social media does is magnifying the opportunities. That is the true value of book bloggers/vloggers and book tours, and many of them do it for free, purely for the love of books.
Now then, I’m no longer a book blogger but I hope that this post goes some way to helping people understand the value of book bloggers, vloggers and online book tours and what they do.
Farewell all and keep up the good work!